It seems as a society, we would rather settle for being unhappy or even marginally happy than live a life that is soul deep. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “This isn’t what I want. I feel disconnected, but it’s comfortable. And I guess it’s just easier to live this way.” But what does that really mean? And why would we rather live disconnected or unhappy, just because it’s more comfortable?
The truth is, we avoid discomfort at all costs; it feels almost unbearable. The thriving psycho-pharmaceutical and alcohol industries are excellent examples of our desire to feel something different or maybe even nothing at all. Being uncomfortable has become intolerable in our modern world. We associate discomfort with pain. And though it’s true our primitive brains are wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. The unpleasant side effects experienced from avoiding things that are not life-threatening, such as making career change, or leaving a toxic relationship, are usually what drives people to contact me seeking tools.
Compromising one’s truth and happiness to avoid being uncomfortable usually leads to resentment, anger, and insecurity. And this is like poison in our bodies. Research has shown many people who suffer from anxiety and depressive related symptoms have decreased immune functioning, increased aches and pains and poor sleeping patterns. Our bodies pay the price for what our minds bury. When our minds choose to ignore the truth, our bodies take over and bring it to our attention. And in sometimes, quite dramatically!
It’s not always easy to make changes. Change is stressful to the brain; it prefers to run on autopilot. Change requires effort and often brings great uncertainty. And uncertainty feel can feel very uncomfortable.
My capacity for compassion and empathy goes beyond most people’s understanding. I deeply sense people’s pain, their sadness, their fear. I know personally what it feels like to be uncomfortable, over and over again. I know what it feels like to compromise and abandon your needs with the best of intentions. Socialized to be a people pleaser; wanting to make others happy to avoid the discomfort of their disapproval or judgment. But eventually that desire to please someone morphs into a need and soon, we find ourselves in the throes of co-dependency. And co-dependency is a slippery slope that leads to no-where. We become enmeshed in the control and compliance of another. And this leads to a false sense of security and comfort. We’re no longer autonomous or self-sufficient, but rather disempowered and afraid. This fear keeps us from leaning into our discomfort and making the changes necessary to free us from living lives that are disconnected and unsatisfying. When we’re not living our best life, we rob the world and all those we come in contact with, the best of what we have to offer. And that is not only uncomfortable, but it’s also seems incredibly sad.